Her Billionaire Best Friend (The Black Tie Billionaires #4) - Jo Grafford

Chapter 1: Resolutions


In exactly seven minutes and thirty-two seconds, I’m going to be on a lunch date with the hottest nurse on the planet!

Titus Rand glanced at his watch, hardly believing his luck. After months of dodging a powerful attraction to the tall, athletic-looking ICU nurse supervisor, he’d finally given in to the temptation to ask her to lunch. And she’d said yes!

She said yes! He wanted to shout the words from the top floor of the Gjoa Haven Medical Center parking garage. Instead, he mounted his black Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Road King and revved the engine. It was hardly a low profile set of wheels for a guy who spent most of his time working undercover, but everyone had their weaknesses. A good, performance driven engine just happened to be his.

Well, that and Jolene Shore.

Getting close to her wasn’t advisable on any level. Every instinct of his was waving a red flag of caution. But for once, he planned to ignore his better judgment. In his line of business, he’d learned that sometimes a person only had a narrow window of opportunity to accomplish a particular goal. Usually, those narrow windows involved bringing dangerous criminals to justice.

Today, that narrow window involved letting his guard down a fraction to allow himself the luxury of a single lunch date. He was pretty sure the attraction was mutual. Or so he hoped. And daydreamed about. And at other times prayed it was nothing more than wishful thinking on his part, because he’d rather take a bullet than hurt Jolene.

Which he inevitably would do if he allowed her to get too close to him — something he was choosing not to think about at the moment.

He strapped on his helmet and throttled the engine of his bike, glorying in the rumble that resonated through his entire body. Riding his Harley was like riding a beast, a modern-day, fire-breathing dragon. It was the only luxury he’d allowed himself since the morning he’d arrived to the U.S. On the days he wasn’t required to stay overnight in Rhys Calcagni’s guest house, he parked it inside his first floor studio apartment that he hadn’t bothered to furnish beyond a single mattress on the floor.

Today he was allowing himself a second luxury in the form of a lunch date. Just one. It couldn’t go beyond that.

Titus rolled his shoulders, relieved to discover the ache in his left bicep was nearly gone. Thanks to a skilled Gjoa Haven surgeon, his torn tendon had been tacked back into place and was healing nicely. More importantly, the two would-be terrorists he’d wrestled at the airport while incurring the injury were now behind bars.

Mashing his gas pedal, he cruised away from the shadowy corner behind the stairwell where he’d parked his ride. Rounding the first corner of the lot faster than necessary, he swiftly zoomed his way down the numerous levels of the parking garage. Passing the main exit, he slowed his speed and rumbled his way to the lesser used rear exit. On a burst of speed, he shot into the sunlight, did a quick wheelie, and made his way to the East entrance where Jolene had agreed to meet him.

His heart pounded to note she was already waiting for him, huddled beneath the glassed-in overhang of the drop-off and pick-up area. She was hugging her slender arms around her white nurse’s smock and bouncing up and down a little, as if the seventy-something-degree weather wasn’t nearly warm enough for her tastes.

Just for the fun of it, he revved his engine as he approached her, enjoying the way several bystanders jolted at the not-so-gentle purr of his bike.

Jolene merely unfolded her arms and rolled her dark, almond-shaped eyes at him. They were a rich shade of hazelnut coffee with a hint of green, and they were infused with both awareness and amusement. She probably knew he was showing off for her benefit.

Good. Anything to get her mind off her exhaustion. A half hour ago she’d confessed to pulling an all-nighter in the ICU. He should’ve offered to drive her home. Instead, he was selfishly indulging in her company. Maybe his lack of sensitivity concerning her need for sleep would make it easier for her to hate him later on.

He removed his helmet and held it out to her, angling his head to indicate she should hop on behind him. He didn’t bother killing the motor, mainly because he wasn’t interested in receiving an offer to take her car instead of his